Over the past year, Barbara Sellers, 66, saved thousands of dollars by winning more than 200 auctions on DealDash.com.
â€œIt is the first and longest-running online penny-auction shopping site in America,â€ Sellers said. â€œIt is a fun and entertaining shopping site, and the highest percent of its customers are senior citizens, age 55 and older.â€
Shopping online from the comfort of your own home is very convenient, she said.
â€œSome seniors with disabilities find it difficult to get to the stores, and some live so far out in the countryside that the nearest stores might be several miles away,â€ Sellers said.
What she likes most about shopping online is that it saves her a lot of time, gas and money.
â€œI donâ€™t like to go out shopping during messy weather,â€ she said. â€œWhen I shop online, I can usually find exactly what I need, and everything is delivered right to my front door.â€
Sellers saved as much as 99 percent off the retail price of some of the products she won. So far, her biggest win was a 55-inch TV for less than $30 (counting the cost of her bids).
â€œIt was such a great bargain to win a TV that retails for $1,399 for so little money,â€ Sellers said. â€œI was so excited that I jumped up and down like a happy 10-year-old, yelling, â€˜I won, I won, I won!â€™â€
At first she could hardly believe it was for real, but when her new TV was delivered, it made her a believer.
â€œIâ€™ve been shopping on DealDash.com ever since,â€ Sellers said. â€œAs a retiree on a fixed income, Iâ€™ve won brand new products that I would not otherwise be able to afford. I won some awesome gifts for my granddaughter, too.â€
Because the penny-auction site and Sellers happen to share the same birthday – Feb. 23 – she feels the successful connection she has with the site was just meant to be.
â€œNow I know that every year, DealDash.com will feature a special anniversary event on my birthday, and how cool is that?â€ Sellers asked. â€œWinning the TV on my 65th birthday was the best gift I ever received, but soon after that, I received an even bigger surprise.â€
As one of the most successful customers on the shopping site, the DealDash support team invited Sellers to take part in its first TV commercial. In June, 2012, she received an all-expense-paid trip to do a commercial in New York City, where the company is based, and in December 2012, the companyâ€™s CEO invited her to fly to Los Angeles to be one of three customers in a commercial filmed in a Hollywood studio.
â€œI was excited and afraid at the same time, because Iâ€™ve always been so scared of flying,â€ Sellers said. â€œBut I made myself go, anyway. When any door of opportunity opens, we must walk through it to find out what might be on the other side. None of us can have a full life without taking some risks.â€
The TV commercial started running a few months ago.
Although she had some success on the first online penny-auction site she tried, it wasnâ€™t nearly as good, and it charged far too much for postage and handling, she said.
â€œI conducted an in-depth study of eight sites,â€ Sellers said. â€œDealDash.com is by far the best one because shipping and handling is always free, they have the biggest and best variety of products for auction, and the Buy-It-Now (BIN) option is good for a full seven days.â€
A few other sites have a BIN option that is good for only one or two hours, and that is not enough time, she said.
â€œThe BIN option takes the gamble out of the shopping experience,â€ Sellers said. â€œIf you donâ€™t win the auction, you can buy the product at retail and get all your bids back free. If you play smart and only bid on products you would buy in a store, anyway, you canâ€™t lose. Thatâ€™s what makes DealDash the most fair and honest penny-auction site online.â€
The most common mistake new shoppers make is to start bidding without first learning how the site works, she said.
â€œThe main reason I â€˜ve been so successful and won so many auctions is because I read, watched and studied how the site works before I started using it,â€ she said. â€œAnyone can register free, but to be successful, customers must develop some winning strategies.â€
Sellers said resources online explain in great detail exactly how the site works and how to bid smart. She even gives away most of her winning secrets on www.DealDashreview.blogspot.com and a Squidoo.com website, â€œHow to Bid Smart on DealDash.com.â€Â
â€œSenior citizens no longer have an excuse to get bored,â€ she said. â€œWith todayâ€™s computer technology, anyone can have fun shopping online.â€
Sellers plans to put a class together to teach other seniors in Pierce County how to win online penny auctions.
How they work
Hereâ€™s a quick overview of how penny auction sites work:
The sites put items up for bidding. Every auction starts at zero, and each bid raises the price by one cent. Bids at dealdash.com cost 60 cents apiece; other sites charge as much as $1. Bid packages must be purchased before a participant can start bidding. Every bid placed restarts the countdown clock. If no new bids are placed before the clock runs out, the highest bidder wins the auction. The winner can buy the item for its final price, sometimes 60 to 99 percent off retail. On DealDash, if you don’t win, you can get all your bids back. Not all sites do that.
The sites make their money through selling bids and the purchase price for merchandise paid by winning bidders.
All items on DealDash are brand new and come with standard manufacturer warranties, according to DealDash.
Shawn W. Harvey wrote this article.